The North Houston Association has been awarded a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H- GAC), which will enable the association to create a Transportation Management Organization (TMO). The grant funds total $ 165,000 over a two year period, and are earmarked specifically for congestion-mitigation efforts. Those companies that are members of the NHA will automatically be a member of the TMO.
Due to the grant, the NHA will provide a number of new transportation- related services, including formation of car pools and van pools as requested by membership; dissemination of information such as legislative updates, bus schedules and commuting literature; and hosting congestion-mitigation related workshops.

The grant will also assist with funding NHA publications, such as the Mobility Update, which was completed last quarter. The Mobility Update was created by a subcommittee of the NHA’s Transportation Committee, led by committee member Mark Froehlich. with Pate Engineers. The document updates the status of transportation projects in the north Houston area that are underway as well as planned. It also identifies the association’s priority projects. Multiple copies were distributed to all member contacts and area chambers of commerce; additional quantities are available at the NHA office.

In addition to educational publications, the CMAQ grant will help support the GreenLine Express, a subscription bus service between Kingwood and the Greenspoint area. The service has been running for almost one year, and the type of vehicles used will soon be upgraded to have a larger passenger capacity and will feature reading lights and captain’s chairs, instead of the current bench seating. Bus service is an alternative form of transportation many north Houston residents and employees utilize, however. another short-distance alternative is commuting via bicycle. Many north Houston residents express interest in this form of transportation. but voice concerns over safety. Because of this, a “bikeway” plan for north Houston was prepared by the Greater Greenspoint Management District (GGMD) and submitted to H-GAC for inclusion in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Development Plan.
For those who do not work close enough to their homes to ride their bicycles, telecommuting is another means of congestion mitigation already at work in many companies. Compaq Computer Corporation conducted a telecommuting pilot program. which has proven so successful that hundreds of the company’s employees are now telecommuting.

Recent activity has occurred regarding the legislation that made companies and their employees aware of alternate modes of transportation. On October 4. 1995. Governor George W. Bush again extended the delay of the Employer Trip Reduction (ETR) program through November 22,1995. Currently, a proposed bill to amend the Clean Air Act is receiving serious attention by Congressman Jack Fields and the Commerce Committee staff. The bill converts ETR to a voluntary program, but gives incentives to companies to comply. The NHA will continue to inform its members on the progress of the ETR program and the Clean Air Act Amendments as information is available.